Did you miss me? I don't generally vanish for so long on ActiveRain. But if you have connected with me on Facebook then perhaps you knew I had a death in my family and have been away for a while.
And at that family funeral I experienced something very overwhelming hard and beautiful at the same time. It was the kind of thing that would have made a really beautiful photograph, but in that moment I had so much sadness in my heart and so many tears in my eyes and it seemed wrong to snap a photo. But I believe that I can make you see and feel the beauty in what I saw. My family had left the funeral home where stories had been shared about the hard worker and good man that my Uncle Harry was by his family and is co-workers. We'd driven an hour to a National Veterans cemetery where he was to be laid to rest. He served his country in the Navy back in the 60s as did my own father. The ceremony was so moving.
Standing as taps was played and the American flag that draped his coffin was carefully removed and folded. Only being touched by gloved hands. His 4 sons were all there in the front, two seated by their mother, my uncles wife and two standing on either side. Matt, the oldest and Spencer who, also joined the Navy and is still actively serving our great nation. Spencer stood in uniform. He had made the comment that he wasn't sure his father ever saw him in his dress blues in person. He stood saluting. I was not emotionally prepared... but when the flag was folded the thirteen times it was as traditionally passed back and forth between the two who had folded it and then to my surprise it was not directly presented to my Aunt Marsha, but to my cousin.
Spencer then bowed before Marsha and spoke these words: "On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Navy, and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service."
It's a memory, that while I do not have photographs, that will remain with me for all of my days. Can you see it? Can you see a son taking the flag that just draped his father's coffin and handing to his widow? Tugs at the heart. It took me a few days to be ready to think about anything else.
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